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Who is withholding Zimbabwe’s cash- banks or people?

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor John Mangudya on Wednesday told a business symposium organized by the University of Zimbabwe that the country had received $2.8 billion in foreign currency receipts between January and June.

By Mangudya’s own admission, $2.8 billion is not small change.

 It is 70 percent of the country’s $4 billion budget for 2017.

As expected, there were questions……Wouldn’t that much money improve our liquidity situation?

Why then are we still in this mess, spending half the day (or half the night) stuck in bank queues just to access some $40 or $30?

Mangudya’s response to the hall full of university students, lecturers, business leaders and journalists was simple though he was agitated (anyone who has had an audience with the governor will know how easily he gets wound up when tough questions – no matter how polite – are posed at him).

“Out of $2.8 billion, $800 million was allocated through the RBZ and the other $2 billion was allocated through the banks. Then you go to any bank and they tell you we have no money and yet they have access to $2 billion not us (RBZ). It appears that the 30 percent ($800 million) we are managing ourselves has more impact.  Although 70 percent ($2 billion) was better than 30 percent. That’s why, as RBZ, we keep monitoring banks. That money doesn’t belong to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe or banks but to people of Zimbabwe,” he said.

Mangudya said the banks were holding onto the money and would rather not release it for some reason.

The governor would know what he is talking about right?

When cash shortages surfaced towards the end of 2015, authorities said this was a temporary situation.

But this has developed into a full blown crisis.

So maybe all of the 19 banks operating in Zimbabwe enjoy seeing their halls packed with crowds of people demanding their monies?

This probably could be a much more profitable business model than the traditional one considering that the banks are still making money despite the crisis.

Or perhaps the governor could have mixed up his numbers.

Continued next page

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